No generals are about to retire from Thai Cabinet, PM says

No generals are about to retire from Thai Cabinet, PM says
Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha.

Prime Minister General Prayut Chan-o-cha and Army Chief General Udomdej Sitabutr denied rumours yesterday that three top military officers would resign because they hold posts in Cabinet.

Over the last few days, there has been speculation that the three officers, who are also ministers, would resign before they are due to retire from the Army.

Prayut said: "I'm the one who has authority to reshuffle the Cabinet and currently, nobody has resigned [as a Cabinet member]."

He said the three were able to work at both posts, as ministers and military officers.

They are: the Justice Minister and Deputy Supreme Commander General Paiboon Koomchaya, Commerce Minister and Deputy Army Chief General Chatchai Sarikulya, and deputy Education Minister and Chief of Staff attached to the Supreme Commander General Surachet Chaiwong.

Prayut stressed that no individuals had reported difficulty in carrying out their duties. The PM went on to reject the possibility of another coup or military reshuffle.

Deputy Defence Minister and Army Chief General Udomdej made similar comments on the issue. He asked media to stop spreading such news reports from this day onwards. He stressed that the National Council for Peace and Order remained firm and committed to following all the steps of its road map, paving the way towards a general election.

Meanwhile, the PM has assigned the Foreign Ministry to explain cases related to lese majeste in foreign countries.

He assigned the Foreign Ministry to keep an eye on fugitives related to lese majeste accusations. He further asked the ministry to carefully explain such cases to official foreign counterparts, requesting more cooperation when it comes to extradition procedures.

The case of Akapop Luara, aka "Tang Acheeva"- who is accused of lese majeste and has been granted New Zealand citizenship - has put pressure on the government.

The Foreign Ministry earlier invited the charge d'affaires of the New Zealand embassy to look into the case of Tang after the fugitive posted a message and his picture holding a New Zealand passport on his Facebook page, saying he was living in New Zealand.

"The right of granting citizenship [in this case] remains under the judgement of New Zealand. Thailand, however, has reserved our rights to inform foreign countries about this case," the PM said, adding that asking for the extradition of anyone accused under the lese majeste laws would not be an easy task.

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